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Bonaventura, whose family name was John of Fidanza, was born in Tuscany in the year 1221. He is said to have been greeted by St. Francis upon his entrance into the order of Franciscans with the exclamation, “Buona Ventura!”
Welcome!” – hence the name by which he is most widely known. In 1245 he became professor of theology at Paris; in 1256, general of his order; in 1273, cardinal-bishop of Alba. He was a rival of Thomas Aquinas, the great Dominican, and was styled Doctor Seraphicus.
While certain writings ascribed to him would indicate that he shared the ecclesiastical errors of his age, yet he “must have possessed a richest personal familiarity with all the deeper mysteries of the spiritual life” (Trench). Luther calls him “
praestantissimus vir," and Dante mentions him in his “Paradise."
He died at Lyons in 1274, during the council, at which he was in attendance upon Pope Gregory X.
DE SANCTA CRUCE
Recordare sanctae crucis,
Quum quiescas aut laboras, Quando rides, quando ploras,
Doles sive gaudeas; Quando vadis, quando venis, In solatiis, in poenis
Crucem corde teneas.
Crux in omnibus pressuris,
Est totum remedium. Crux in poenis et tormentis Est dulcedo piae mentis,
Et verum refugium.
OF THE HOLY CROSS
Thou who art so prone to measure
Think upon the holy cross.
Counting all things else as loss.
Whether resting or achieving,
Weeping or in joy thou art;
Keep the cross within thy heart.
Lo, the cross, when ills oppress thee, Burdens crush and woes possess thee,
Is thy one and only cure. In thy pain and deep affliction 'Tis thy soul's sweet benediction
And thy refuge safe and sure.